The Near-Johannesburg Boy

Gwendolyn Brooks

My way is from woe to wonder.
A Black boy near Johannesburg, hot in the Hot Time.
Those people do not like Black among the colors.
They do not like our calling our country ours.
They say our country is not ours.
Those people. Visiting the world as I visit the world.
Those people. Their bleach is puckered and cruel.
It is work to speak of my Father.
My Father. His body whole till they stopped it.
Suddenly. With a short shot.
Before, before that , physically tall among us, he died every day.
Every moment. Mt Father…
First was the crumpling. No. First was the Fist-and-the-Fury.
Last was the crumpling. It is a little used rag that is under, it is not, it is not my Father gone down.
About my Mother.
My Mother was this loud laughter below the sunshine, below the starlight at festival.
My Mother is still this loud laughter!
Still moving straight in the Getting-It-Done (as she names it.) oh a strong eye is my Mother.
Except when it seems we are lax in our looking.
Well, enough of slump, enough of Old Story.
Like a clean spear of fire I am moving.
I am not still. I am ready to be ready.
I shall flail in the Hot Time.
Tonight I walk with a hundred of playmates to where the hurt Black of our skin is forbidden.
There, in the dark that is our dark, there, a-pulse across earth that is our earth,
there, there exulting, there Exactly, there redeeming, there
Roaring Up
(oh my Father)
we shall forge with the fist-and-the-Fury:
we shall flail in the Hot Time:
we shall
we shall.......

Last updated May 16, 2023